Haley Nelson (she/her), originally from Northern California, chased her dream of making new theatre all the way to Dallas, Texas. She fell madly in love with the city's thriving arts scene and kind people while attending Southern Methodist University in pursuit of her BFA in Theatre. While in school, Haley interned at the Ko Festival (Amherst, Massachusetts), was active in Southern Methodist University Student Theater and the school's mainstage productions, and received the 2017 John and Claire Rosenfield Award for Playwriting (and the Charley Helfert award for kindest first-year student in 2014). During her sophomore year, she was signed as a company member to House Party Theatre (TheatreJones's Best New Theatre Company of 2015), and became a prolific producer and playwright for the group, with her work featured in many of the company's non-traditional theatre festivals and venues including the Dallas Museum of Art. Her years of experience with this small company have led to her consulting and producing for a variety of other grassroots theater companies in Dallas and beyond.
At the heart of her theatre obsession is a love for words, which she has turned into a thriving freelance career in dramaturgy. She currently serves as the Manager of Literary and Community Initiatives at Kitchen Dog Theater (a National New Play Network founding core member). She is a researcher for two Spoke Media podcasts, and the Monday Night Playwright workshop dramaturg for Theatre3. Other projects have included dramaturging Artstillery's DIRTY TURK, the first in a trilogy of site-specific, multimedia immersive plays about immigration, which premiered in August of 2018, script-reading for conferences including Seven Devils and Playwrights’ Center, and assisting Mark Bly at the 2018 Kennedy Center New Play Dramaturgy Intensive.
Haley’s dramaturgy also extends off the page and into her community. She is invested in exploring civic dramaturgy, and non-theatrical applications of new work dramaturgical thought. Her commitment to dramaturgy and her community has been recognized through several grants - the 2017 LMDA Bly Creative Capacity Grant through which she explored “Integrated Dramaturgy” at Kitchen Dog Theater; an inaugural Actors Theatre of Louisville Emerging Leaders (now Theatre Professionals) Grant, created to recognize professionals devoted to promoting new work from within small theaters; and a 2019 Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs grant in which she dramaturged the Historic Preservation department’s processes.
A small sample of her playwriting can be found on her New Play Exchange page, and she is available for freelance work in dramaturgy, playwriting, producing, and acting. Shoot her a message and she'll get back to you, right after she waters her family of houseplants and finishes the most recent episode of "Documentary Now!".
Dallas Theater Center Playwrights’ Workshop member, 2019 cohort
Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas - Regional Vice President: Third Coast (Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas)
Dallas Playwrights' Collective (led by Jonathan Norton)
Women Galore Literary Festival - Theatre Subcommittee
AWards and grants
2019-2020 National New Play Network Producer-In-Residence at Kitchen Dog Theater
2019 Office of Cultural Affairs/Dallas City Hall Micro-Residency, Sustainable Development and Construction: Historic Preservation Department
2017 Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas Bly Creative Capacity Grant
Actors Theatre of Louisville's Emerging Leaders Grant (2018)
John and Claire Rosenfield Award for Playwriting (2017)